–– EV DIARY ––
In the first of a new series, Alisdair Suttie spends a week behind the wheel of an EV. To kick things off, it’s the Hyundai Ioniq 5
There are some cars that you just know you’re going to like long before you set bum in them. It’s fair to say that the Hyundai Ioniq 5 falls firmly in this camp. From colleagues, I knew the Hyundai was very good – not least because it recently won the overall title of UK Car of the Year for 2022. Not as an EV, but simply as a very good car in its own right, which bodes well when fellow motoring journalists are talking in these terms. On top of this, I reckon the Ioniq 5 looks fantastic in a way few other cars of any type manage.
Sticking with the Hyundai’s styling today as I walked around it with a friend, there are so many pleasing touches. For instance, the way the wheelarch surrounds have slashes set into them rather than being left as Plain Jane plastics. It’s such a simple thing, but it adds a real edge of drama and fun to the Ioniq 5 – and it echoes the design of the wheels to lend the car a complete appearance.
This evening is my son’s football training session, so he and a couple of his mates piled into the Ioniq 5. Surprisingly, they all seem to know what it is powered by instinctively and approve of the car’s green credentials. I’m slightly less wowed by a 15-mile round trip using up 35 miles worth of battery charge as I have the heated seats, steering wheel and air conditioning doing their best to keep the winter chills at bay.
Time to charge up the Ioniq 5 at my nearest rapid chargers in a Tesco car park close to where I live. However, it seems that post-school drop-off time is when many people want to charge up as all the available chargers are occupied. It’s irritating that there are free parking spaces but each charger can only be used by two cars despite having three charging cables on offer. This undermines the usefulness of these charge points and sends me on a hunt further afield for a charger that’s free.
Another day, another search for a charge point to get some electricity into the Hyundai. There’s sufficient charge for a longer drive into Stirling, so I check Zap Map and head for an available charging point. Only, this one is not working and its fully operating neighbour is in use by two other cars. My patience is beginning to wear as thin as the remaining amount of power in the Ioniq’s battery (12%). Not the car’s fault, but a failure of infrastructure to keep pace with the growth in sales of EVs.
Having found a charger, eventually, yesterday I am now much more wary of the Hyundai’s claimed range of 298 miles. In the cold of the tail end of the Scottish winter, it’s more like 200 miles on a full charge, with a little in reserve. That’s not insurmountable, but finding chargers that work and don’t cost a packet to use are proving elusive. Locally, there are none in the village where I live and the nearest faster charger in Callander seems permanently in use by others. Sadly, a home charger isn’t on the cards because of where I live.
The Hyundai Ioniq 5 is a great car in many ways but, aside from the woeful charging infrastructure local to me, there are niggles. Prime among these is no rear wiper or screen wash. Why? It’s such a simple, effective aid to driving, especially when the roads are covered in a never-ending slick of road salt and grime at this time of year. Would it stop me choosing the Hyundai? No, but it would irk me.